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by Abigail Van Buren

Parents Should Answer Girl's Threat With Some Tough Love

DEAR ABBY: I was raised to respect people's personal space, especially when standing in line. However, often when I stand in line patiently waiting my turn, I find the person behind me practically breathing down my neck. I keep telling myself to politely ask for space, but I can't muster the courage because I'm afraid they will think I'm rude. How can I ask for space without sounding rude? -- NEEDS MY SPACE IN CONNECTICUT

DEAR NEEDS YOUR SPACE: For heaven's sake, muster the courage. The last thing you need is a stranger standing behind you watching you enter a pin number on a debit card.

There is nothing nasty about turning around and saying that when someone stands too close it makes you uncomfortable and to please step back. Speaking up for yourself isn't rude. It's being assertive -- which is healthy when compared to feeling like a doormat.